The Minute Book
Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)

A Report by the Directorate of Public Relations (National Defence), Ottawa

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 10, No 4, Oct 1956

Her Majesty the Queen has approved conditions for the award of battle honours to units of the Canadian Army which fought in the Second World War, Army Headquarters has announced. Her Majesty's approval of the conditions now leaves the way open for Regular and Militia armoured and infantry regiments to claim the awards to which they are entitled. The conditions were prepared during the past year by a Battle Honours Committee under the chairmanship of Maj.-Gen. A. Bruce Matthews, CBE, DSO, ED, of Toronto. The Battle Honours list for Commonwealth armies in the Second World War compiled by a special Committee, on which Canada was represented, in London, England, includes more than 160 battles, actions, engagements and theatres for which honours may be awarded to Canadian regiments. The list includes Dieppe and Hong Kong in addition to the battles fought by Canadians in Sicily, Italy, NorthWest Europe and Southern France. The honours may be awarded for service in either an armoured or an infantry role to regiments which are entitled by custom to carry colours. They will be awarded only when units were "actively engaged with enemy ground troops", having "taken a creditable part in an operation" and when the unit is "proud of its part in the operation". Some regiments will be eligible for 30 or more of these honours; however, as with the Great War 1914-18, only 10 Second World War honours may be emblazoned on the regiment's colours, standards, guidons or appointments. The custom of awarding battle honours originated in the British Army in the 18th Century. The honours take the form of inscriptions — showing the place and date of the engagement honoured — on unit standards, guidons and colours. Some regiments, notably Rifle Regiments, display honours on their drums, clothing or badges. The earliest battle honour awarded to a Canadian unit is "Eccles Hill", commemorating an action fought against the Fenians on the Vermont border in 1870. It is borne by the Victoria Rifles of Canada, a Montreal Militia unit. Some Canadian regiments possess battle honours for the North- West Rebellion of 1885 and the South African War. Most units have honours from the war of 1914-18. An Army Order is being prepared which gives the conditions of award, the qualifications required and the list of recognized honours for the Second World War. It will require each regiment concerned to appoint a committee of not less than five members comprised of former and serving commanding officers, officers who served with the regiment in action and honorary colonels and lieutenant-colonels. This committee will determine the honours to be applied for and those to be emblazoned. Following are some points covered by the conditions as drawn up by Maj.-Gen. Matthews' committee and approved by Her Majesty:

1.     Honours not included in the official list of more than 160 operations may be applied for by regiments. Such applications must be backed up by conclusive supporting evidence.

2.     Pre-war infantry units which fought as armoured regiments during the war may claim honours.

3.     To qualify for an honour, unit headquarters and 50 per cent of subunits of a unit must have been engaged. However, there are provisions for units which were represented in a theatre only by squadrons or companies operating independently.

4.     Honours normally are awarded on a regimental basis and are equally the property of all units of the regiment. Within the regiment the same honours will normally be displayed on the colours of battalions of the regiment. Amalgamated regiments normally will adopt the combined honours of the individual units.

5.     Honours awarded to disbanded regiments will be announced as a matter of record.

6.     A theatre honour will be awarded to all regiments which have qualified for one or more battle honours in that theatre. Some regiments ineligible for battle honours may be awarded a theatre honour if a unit was represented and performed creditably in the theatre concerned.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 May 2014 3:52 PM EDT

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